A slate of new Windows phones, running Mango software, is set to launch in September, according to speculation, an attempt to build momentum that may go head-to-head against Apple’s iPhone 5.
Phone makers such as Acer, HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung and ZTE are all expected to unveil their Windows Phone Mango phones at the same time, according to Digitimes. Nokia’s first Windows Phone device, likely the Sea Ray, may debut later at Nokia World in October.
Details of the phones are scant, although HTC’s models are expected to be powered by Qualcomm 1.5GHz single-core processors, with display sizes going up to 4.7 inches, sources noted. The only confirmed handset for this fall is Toshiba-Fujitsu’s IS12T, set for release exclusively in Japan.
The phones’ expected release dovetails with news that Microsoft has completed its Mango update of the Windows Phone software and shipped it to manufacturers for testing. The update adds stability as well as multitasking capabilities to the OS, and includes several new features aimed at business customers.
The onslaught of handsets running the latest, much-discussed version of Microsoft’s mobile OS may raise the visibility of the platform, which has stalled overall against competitors like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android devices. Microsoft holds under 10 per cent of the market, compared to Google’s 38 per cent and Apple’s 26 per cent, according to Nielsen, and many carriers’ product line-ups favour the market leaders.
If the rumours are correct, however, the new Windows Phone Mango handsets would flood the market at the same time as Apple’s iPhone 5, also set to launch in early fall. The highly anticipated next-generation iPhone will likely command significant sales numbers and market attention, which may siphon momentum from Microsoft’s efforts to regain its footing as a mobile competitor.
Windows Phone’s biggest boost may come when Microsoft’s strategic partnership with Nokia bears fruit. Nokia is set to reveal its first group of Mango devices at its Nokia World 2011 showcase in October, after the initial splash of competitors earlier in the fall. The partnership will find Microsoft’s OS on a greater number of phones globally, and may be a stronger start for a platform trying to muscle its way in a U.S. market dominated by iOS, Android and BlackBerry.
Even with the staggered release of Windows Phone Mango handsets, Microsoft is aiming to build momentum this fall with a set of strong releases featuring its OS. There may be strength in numbers, but it may need more to take on the two major mobile platform giants.